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Teaching SpiritsUnderstanding Native American Religious Traditions$
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Joseph Epes Brown

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138757.001.0001

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Fixing a Center

Fixing a Center

Native American Sacred Geography

(p.23) 3 Fixing a Center
Teaching Spirits

Joseph Epes Brown

Emily Cousins

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Native American interactions with the land. Many tribes believe in the sustaining power of the land. According to most Native American traditions, the land is alive. Every particular form of the land is experienced as the locus of qualitatively different spirit beings; their presence sanctifies and gives meaning to the land in all its details and contours. These spirits also give meaning to the lives of people who cannot conceive of themselves apart from the land. Apache stores of place, Navajo relationship with the land, conflict over sacred lands, and sacred architecture are discussed.

Keywords:   Native American culture, traditions, Apache, Navajo, land, architecture

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